Some of the most rewarding aspects of moving can include finding a new home. When you’re house hunting, it’s important to know as much as you can about the surrounding area. After all, you’re not just choosing a new home; you’re also becoming part of a new community. Your future neighbors have the inside scoop on what you can really expect so take advantage of their knowledge. Here are 5 important questions to ask the residents in your future community:

1.  ARE CHILDREN WELCOME? Whether or not you have kids, the answer to this question will be useful in determining the kind of environment the neighborhood possesses.

2.  WHICH KINDS OF PETS ARE SAFE IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD? Coyotes pose a huge threat to Orange County pets, particularly outdoor cats and small dogs. It’s important to know if your future neighborhood is safe and comfortable for pets.

3.  WHAT SORT OF EVENTS AND ACTIVITIES ARE HOSTED IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD? Whether you hope to attend block parties, watch your kids make lifelong neighborhood friends, or enjoy quiet evenings sipping iced tea on your front porch, it’s best to ask the residents what community life is really like.

4.  WHAT KIND OF CRIMES HAVE OCCURRED RECENTLY? Statistics for communities aren’t too difficult to find online, but only a resident can paint an accurate picture of daily life in the neighborhood.

5.  WHAT’S THE GREATEST AREA IN THIS NEIGHBORHOOD? You may fall in love with the local park or neighborhood favorite vantage point before you even move in. Or, you may find out the favorite place for kids to play is right behind your otherwise quiet yard, and that can certainly sway your decision.

Don’t be shy in meeting your future neighbors before you decide on a home. They’ve got knowledge that could help you determine if the house you’re falling in love with is set inside a community that will feel like home, or if it’s best to keep shopping.